In a world of harsh globalization, companies strive hard to develop new methods and technologies by way of continuous research and development. Businessmen work harder to establish their competitive edge on products and services over other competitors. And individuals juggle the hardest to find their own niche in order to survive and eventually succeed in a very challenging environment. One word then comes to mind: competition. This is also true of education. Competition in education comes in various forms. Students compete amongst themselves or experience competition in one way or the other. Even educational institutions where a marketplace of ideas and overflowing information can be found have to compete in molding their students into better individuals and more responsible members of society. Teachers give examinations and determine the scores of students to assess their performance. Their ratings are later announced or subsequently posted on bulletin boards of secondary schools. The top ten students are then labeled as crème de la crème of the class. Professors likewise assess their college students for who shall be included in the Dean’s List. Academic distinctions are awarded to deserving graduates during the commencement exercises. Moreover, academic and extra-curricular activities are avenues through which students and learners showcase their prowess. They can show their aptitude and intelligence in quiz bees and scholastic competitions. They can demonstrate their talents and skills in speaking, writing, dancing, and related contests. They can display their physical dexterity and ability in sports. They can develop their leadership and management in campus organizations and student politics. They can undergo the tightest of competition! Competition has thus become a buzzword not only of students but also of educational institutions. Schools compete with one another in academic tilts and sporting activities. Colleges and universities compete for higher rankings in licensure examinations, in the variety of courses offered, in ratings of the best institutions of higher learning both local and abroad. They have to compete in this age of information and digital society in order to win, and not to shrink.
When students compete against one another, they become more responsible and diligent in performing their tasks and responsibilities. They prepare for their lessons thoroughly. They study and accomplish their homework religiously. In the process, students become oblivious to the fact that while they were doing all these things they are heading down the path of honor and excellence. This also applies to schools, especially higher educational institutions (HEIs). Students learn to embrace creativity and innovation while competing individually and most especially under pressure. They become achievers in their own rights. They are breaking barriers for the sake of education. More importantly, they learn to create new things and execute innovations in areas where they had not done before. In essence, competition catalyzes that creativity and innovation which are often not expected of and sometimes neglected by students under the process of learning and developing one’s self. While competition highlights individual achievements on one hand, it also forges teamwork and camaraderie on the other hand. It strengthens group dynamics and unity amidst diversity through sharing of ideas and information, focus group discussions (FGDs), group reviews and study sessions, and team competitions. The spirit of belonging to the group and collective action of members are further enhanced through healthy and democratic competitions. It is competition that drives the market forces to bring out the best creations for the consumers. It is competition that impels the emergence of contending ideas, information and schools of thought for the public mind. It is competition that makes learning an exciting activity and a challenging human endeavor as well – thereby producing the best in students in particular and in the education sector in general. Competition in education must be managed so that we do not defeat one another and shrink, but create, innovate and win!